SAMOA TO MOVE BACK TO THE FUTURE
Samoa, the tiny Pacific Ocean island state, is travelling through time to improve its economic prospects. In a vote of confidence for the Asian century, the country has decided to shift the jagged International Date Line to its east at the end of this year, which will bring it a day closer to Asia and Australasia. That reverses a decision 119 years ago to move the line to the west, following lobbying by Samoa’s merchants who wanted better to accommodate business with trading ships from the US and Europe.
BANK OF AMERICA TO CUT $850BN BAD LOAN BOOK IN HALF
Bank of America plans to shrink its $850bn portfolio of troubled home loans by about half over the next three years as it seeks to quicken the pace with which it resolves problems related to the housing crisis and its disastrous purchase of Countrywide Financial. Terry Laughlin, who is spearheading BofA’s mortgage modification and foreclosure programmes, told the Financial Times he had been given leeway to act quickly to tackle the growing number of bad loans that threaten to overwhelm the bank’s overall performance and tarnish the reputation of Brian Moynihan, its chief executive.
CONDÉ NAST SUBSCRIBES TO IPAD PLAN
Condé Nast has become the latest leading magazine publisher to say it will offer subscriptions to its titles on Apple’s iPad. The publisher of titles including Vogue, The New Yorker and Wired said on Monday it had reached an agreement with Apple after months of tension between publishers and the technology company over who would control the relationship with customers. The announcement by Condé Nast follows a similar announcement last week by Hearst.
CAMERON’S BIG SOCIETY BANK IS STILL WAITING FOR ITS MONEY
Four big high street banks remain locked in talks over the £200m to be invested in David Cameron’s Big Society Bank, it emerged yesterday.
The money, announced in February, has yet to be handed over by Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays, which are still deep in negotiations with the Treasury over the investment and social returns the bank will offer.
GREEN ENTERPRISE STANDS STILL UNTIL PATH AHEAD IS CLEAR
Uncertainty over the Government’s energy policy risks creating an “investment hiatus” that will stall Britain’s renewable sector, according to a survey by KPMG. Three quarters of companies said they would have invested more in Britain over the past three years if regulation was clearer.
The Daily Telegraph
PENSION SAVERS SHOULD HAVE CHANCE TO WIN £1M
Everyone who pays into a pension should be automatically entered into a £1 million-a-month lottery draw in a bid to encourage saving for retirement, a report has proposed. The prospect of a lottery bonanza may prove more of a motivation to build up a nest-egg than any advertising and marketing campaign, and could even save the state money, said pensions expert Ros Altmann, director-general of Saga.
PEOPLE HAVE TWICE AS MANY ONLINE VIRTUAL FRIENDS AS REAL ONES
People have twice as many friends online as they do in real life, says new research. Users of sites such as Facebook have double the amount of friends online than they do in real life, according to research commissioned by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
WAL-MART'S AFRICA FOOTHOLD SHAKY AS JOB WORRIES MOUNT
The South African government warned that Wal-Mart Stores’s $2.4 billion proposed acquisition of African retailer Massmart Holdings could cause thousands of job losses and worsen labor conditions, throwing cold water on one of the country's biggest potential overseas investments.
CITIGROUP INSTANTLY BECOMES A $40 STOCK
Citigroup became a $40 stock for the first time since late 2007, as its share price appeared to rise more than 850 PER CENT from Friday’s close. One catch: Investors didn’t earn a dime on Monday. Citigroup, the heaviest-traded U.S. stock that accounted for 6.8 per cent of total US stock trading volume last year, drastically shrunk its share count.